From Diego Maradona’s successor to taxi driver – Exploring Sonny Pike’s tragic soccer journey before Lionel Messi’s rise

Sonny Pike was well on his way to extreme fame and stardom till he was influenced into some wrong career decisions. Sonny, at 12, could do with the ball the things only football superstars could do. At a very tender age, many projected that he would succeed in the World’s bests like Diego Maradona and George Best.

Sonny Pike was so talented he scored over a hundred goals for Enfield FC in a single season. However, his glorious football prospect took a sudden turn when he was granted an interview that led to his ban from football for one year.

How Sonny Pike went from Diego Maradona’s heir to a taxi driver

Sonny Pike was one the biggest child prodigy of the 90s. Pike was so talented that everyone thought he would conveniently step into Diego Maradona’s shoes; he was also compared to George Best, even at the tender age of twelve. Sonny Pike was already famous for his magical touches before Lionel Messi debuted as a professional footballer.

The ultimate dream of the 12-year-old Spike was to become a Premier League icon as he idolized the likes of Paul Gascoigne, who was his football model.

Sonny Pike

Indeed, things went quite well for the youngster. Precisely, At the tender age of 12, Pike had already garnered attention from elite football clubs thanks to his outstanding performances for the Sunday League outfit Enfield FC.

His remarkable feat of netting more than 100 goals in a single season earned him an invitation for a trial with Ajax. Pike’s extraordinary talents turned him into a child prodigy, attracting media coverage that closely tracked his every step, and he also secured lucrative sponsorship deals as a result.

Sonny Pike was not even a full-fledged professional footballer yet, but he already secured a soccer boot deal with Mizuno and even collaborated with top brands like Coca-Cola and McDonalds. His legs were even insured for £1 million before everything came crashing, and he had to quit football.

Why did Sonny Pike quit soccer?

At the tender age of 14, Pike found himself in the crosshairs of jealous parents who encouraged their own children to harm him during matches intentionally. Moreover, he had to contend with the external pressure and scrutiny that came with his burgeoning fame. Tragically, his father, albeit unintentionally, played a significant role in derailing his promising career.

Mickey, Sonny’s father, once convinced him to do a documentary titled ‘Coaching and Poaching’. The documentary, directed by Greg Pyke, revealed much about how Chelsea was tapping him up illegally, forcing the F.A to issue him a one-year ban.

Following his ban, Sonny Pike encountered considerable difficulty in rekindling his passion for football. The ordeal had caused him to lose his love for the sport.

“I pretty much had a mental breakdown on the pitch. I came on for 15 minutes, was given the opportunity, and just walked off,” he said.

Sonny Pike

He struggled psychologically and eventually became suicidal at 17. Eventually, at 18, he decided he was done with football. He disappeared from the public eye for a while, learnt carpentry and started a family. For a job, he also drives a cab in London.


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